It’s hard getting their attention at football halftime. Unexpected Pizza may work for you. Then again, this might be a lost game.

 

It’s football Sunday. The drill at my house is “dinner at halftime — fast.” That of course means the cook (me) works for two quarters trying to fit a meal into a 12-minute halftime window of opportunity.

I don’t mind that, but I hate cooking for football fans. I could spend all morning crafting something perfect. Serve it in front of the tube on TV trays (what else). They hardly even glance at the meal, eyes and minds glued to the game.

It could be filet mignon or filet d’ cheeseburger. No matter. Something about football dulls the brain for outside stimulus, like eating.

Ask, “How is it?”

“Well, the quarterback rating is negative. Could you get me another brewskie?”

Oh, well, forget it.

This season, I’m searching for wow factor, a dish that will make a 95-yard touchdown seem like chopped liver. Then I hit on Unexpected Pizza.

We have 334 pizza shops in my town. We have traffic jams of guys racing to deliver the pies hot during halftime. Pizza is us. How dare I try to improve on that.

I got a brain storm with this week’s game. Last time I served spaghetti and meat sauce for halftime, well, my diners looked comatose schlepping noodles.

What if ...

Well, Mr. Football for Brains, I found it.

Get your pasta sauce ready. Make a “crust” out of spaghetti in a pizza pan. Pour on the sauce and goodies, top with cheese. Bake it.

Chucky was the first to realize it smells like pizza and looks like pizza and eats like Mama Mia’s Sunday pasta pigout. The Chuckster first tried eating it with his hands. Not a great idea. Our dog cleaned up.

So here you go. I guarantee reaction:

“Jimbo, more beer.” (At least he’s breathing.)


UPEXPECTED PIZZA

12 ounces pizza sauce 8 ounces spaghetti 12 ounces ground beef, or more 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded Sour cream Cream cheese Your favorite pizza toppings

Oil your favorite pizza pan. Assemble your favorite pizza toppings. I need pepperoni, green and red peppers, mushrooms, black olives, artichoke hearts, the whole kitchen sink. Brown the beef and add the sauce.

Cook the pasta for half the time on the package. Drain it  and rinse in cold water. (A half box will make a “large.”) Use a fork to grab the noodles and form them into a flat “crust” in your pizza pan. Work them up the sides to form a lip all the way around.

Smear the noodles with sour cream and dabs of cream cheese. Add the toppings and ladle on the pizza sauce.

Bake 40 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Place a sheet of foil on the oven bottom to catch the drips. Allow to rest five minutes before slicing.

Feeds four to six depending on prior tortilla-chip consumption. Your schedule is to start the baking with 12 minutes left in the second quarter.

Contact Jim Hillibish at jim.hillibish@cantonrep.com.